Friday, April 25, 2014

Rodeo: American as Apple Pie

If you share my passion for horses, anything horses normally peaks my interest.  With spring and summer comes trail riding, horse shows, and competitive events like RODEO!!!!  That prompted me to do a bit of research to learn more about the history of rodeo and bring you just a few facts.  Rodeo began back as early as the 1820s and 30s where cowboys and vaqueros would burn some of that extra energy during their down time testing each other’s skills.  After the Civil War this country sparked a competitive spirit and in 1872 the first actual competitive rodeo was held in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  As time went on, somewhere around 1910, rodeos became public entertainment.  Out of that era came Buffalo Bill Cody, Annie Oakley and many others.

As interest began to grow somewhere around the 1930s, rodeos went to the big cities all around the U.S. and formal organizations with standardizations were created such as the Calgary Stampede, Cheyenne Frontier Days and the Pendleton Round-Up.

Women began to get involved very early on, somewhere around the turn of the century.  Women brought “trick riding” to the event and it has blossomed since then to barrel racing, pole bending, and team roping.

By the 1970s, rodeo saw tremendous growth which brought media attention which brought big name sponsors thus big “purses”.  It gathered the attention of folks that had no connection to ranching or the cowboy way of life but saw rodeo as an athletic event with big pay-offs.

In my view, rodeo is as much of our heritage as Mom, hot dogs and Apple pie.  Rodeo contestants are a special breed.  To me they seem fearless when that bull rider climbs aboard that 2000 pound steer to see how long he can stay aboard until he is thrown off or that pick-up rider comes to his rescue.  Or that barrel racer that speeds around those barrels leaning over until their boots nearly drag on the ground.  Now that’s fearless!!!!

As summer rodeo season approaches, lets keep our fellow cowboys and cowgirls at the forefront, support their activities and wish for their well-being.   With the technology boom and the fast passed life we all live, we need to keep alive the spirit of generations past that have made us what we are today.  So take time to attend a rodeo, a roping or cutting, or barrel racing event.

We would love to hear about your “fearless” cowboy or cowgirl.  Give us an idea of their challenges, rewards and don’t forget their horses!!

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